Congrats on acquiring Dan Ellis, Lightning fans - Cassie asked me to give you guys the scoop on your newest goaltender.
|2009 - Dan Ellis||31||1715||15||13||77||2.69||848||771||.909||1|
First off, go over to Twitter and give old @dellis39 a follow, he's easily one of the most entertaining guys you'll find there, hockey player or not. But follow after the jump for a bit more...
As Chris wrote on our site back in April, Dan's 2009-10 season had its ups and downs, but there's good reason to believe that he can handle a moderate workload and deliver better-than-average results in the NHL. That's a handy asset to have in a 1A-1B goaltending situation such as might exist with Tampa Bay alongside Mike Smith.
For goaltenders, it's pretty much all about the save percentage - their #1 job is to stop pucks, and other skills are secondary. That said, Ellis is a pretty good stickhandler, and enjoys coming out to play pucks and send a long pass up-ice to catch opposing teams trying to make a line change. Obviously, that can lead to misadventure on occasion, but he does whatever he can to help his team compete.
While his .909 save percentage may not dazzle the casual observer, let's take a look at how Ellis performed across a variety of situations...
|Save Percentage by situation, 2009-10|
|Dan Ellis||Shots Faced||Goals Allowed||Save %||Shot Quality Save %|
The "Shot Quality Save %" reflects what an average NHL goaltender would have delivered given the same workload of shots (based on distance from the goal, type of shot, whether or not it was a rebound chance, etc.). Thus, at even strength, Dan delivered superior results, while on the PK he coughed up three or four more goals than expected (an .868 save percentage would have allowed 17.5).
Taken in total, his .909 compares somewhat favorably with the .904 that my Shot Quality model would predict. You can also look back to the 2007-8 season, when he led the NHL with a .924 Save Percentage and helped carry the Predators into the playoffs.
He's definitely got the skills to be a quality goalie, the only question is one of durability. During that 2007-8 season when he starting earning multiple starts in a row, there were concerns about his ability to maintain his playing weight. These have been moderated by a number of measures to help keep his body temperature down when playing, but I doubt he'll ever be a 60-start type of goalie.
But for $1.5 million per season, the Lightning have gotten themselves a very capable performer, and a player who I'm sure will become very popular with Tampa's fans. He was my 8-year-old daughter's favorite Predator, so take care of him, OK?